Friday, June 10, 2005
There was a Soft Cell song playing on someone's radio just before going into the Tate Gallery the last time I saw the Rothko Room. What's it called? You have to know what I mean, their big big hit? Tainted Love, yeah, Tainted Love. It was perfectly imperfect. In a way it reminds me of Alice Notely's response to one of my 9for9 questions where she says, "I have a fear of dying with my mind playing some hideous Beatles song or an ancient show tune."
Doesn't that song say to us, "Now I've lost my light." Now I've lost my light, and it is one of those things that bounces off the back of your skull sitting in front of a room like Rothko's at the Tate if you've just heard it.
"Now I've lost my light, for I toss and turn I can't sleep at night...." Well, anyway, I didn't ask for the lyrics of Mark Almond's Soft Cell to be fused with the Rothko experience, but.... But there's nothing quite like the unexpected connections, especially when they mean something to how you're living your life at the time. Dregs and pulling out.
Let's have another look at the amazing Rothko painting:
R E D___O N___M A R O O N
On my break today I was reading from several books on his work and life, and wanted to share a couple of things with you.
One thing in particular I liked was Rothko telling Elaine De Kooning, "A painting is not about experience. It is an experience."
In an interview with Selden Rodman, Rothko said, "You might as well get one thing straight. I'm not an abstractionist... I'm not interested in the relationship of color to form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions -- tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions... The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point."
Here's more Rothkos from the Tate Gallery.
Another Rothko quote: "Maybe you have noticed two characteristics exist in my paintings; either their surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles you can find everything I want to say."
for I toss and turn,